Districts where we work
Blocks where we work
Srikakulam, Etcherla, Sarubujjili and Lakshmi Narsu Peta
In 2007, The Hunger Project partnered with Mahila Margdarshi in Andhra Pradesh. The Hunger Project aims to support Mahila Margdarshi by helping them build the capacities of 389 elected women representatives of selected Blocks of Srikulam District. This is a project for a period of six months from November 2007 till March 2008. Decentralisation to local bodies is an evolving process in the State of Andhra Pradesh. At the same time it has the largest number of women Self Help Groups (SHGs). Women are known to play an active role in development processes at the community level. But women elected representatives are confronted with the same problems and concerns as Elected Women Representatives in the rest of the country. A need assessment done by both, The Hunger Project and Mahila Margdarshi, revealed that in addition to lack of information regarding their roles and responsibilities Elected Women Representatives are also used as puppets in the hands of political parties at the State level. This is a feature seen specifically in some parts of India and Andhra Pradesh does not escape this. For instance, in one village The Hunger Project visited, the President of the Panchayat and some Ward Members were all women but could not see eye to eye because they were affiliated with two opposing parties. Party politics has ensured that women stand un-united in the face of a problem. The Women Leadership Workshops of The Hunger Project aim to bring women together in a collective such that they realise their potential for leadership and are able to address issues of distinction and discrimination.
Training of Trainers
The Hunger Project conducted a Training of Trainers for 20 local trainers brought together by Mahila Margdarshi. Some of these trainers were staff of Mahila Margdarshi, some were members of the NGO network Mahila Margdarshi is also a part of and one trainer was an elected woman representative of one of the blocks The Hunger Project will cover in the project period. Training of Trainers will be followed by a series of Women Leadership Workshops (WLW), which will be conducted at the community level by the local pool of trainers. There are a total of 389 Elected Women Representatives in the selected blocks (Srikakulam, Etcherla, Sarubujjili and Lakshmi Narsu Peta) of Srikakulam District and the capacity building would ensure the following:
- An understanding of the roles and responsibilities of elected women representatives under the Panchayat Raj Act.
- Conceptual clarity on gender and patriarchy and forms of gender based violence.
- To enable women elected representatives to identify issues that constrain overall development and take them up in the gram sabha (village assembly).
The expected outcome of this project would be mobilisation of a critical mass of women leaders who will address the gaps in development and take up issues of women’s rights.
Mahila Margdarshi is a non-profit organisation working with an aim of providing issue based development services and advocacy support to the marginalised sections of the population to enable them to live a life free of violence. Mahila Margdarshi works on a range of issues from non-pesticide management and minor irrigation for farmer groups to trafficking of girls and women, reproductive health, domestic violence and other forms of gender based violence. Mahila Margdarshi works in Srikakulam District of the state, which is one of the few of Andhra's most remote areas. This district is a combination of tribal and coastal areas and both, tribal community and the fisher folk community comprise the marginalised sections of the people.